All posts tagged: sakura

Cherry Blossom in Tokyo

Hanami ( cherry blossom viewing ) is the highlight of the spring. For a few days, delicate pink white blossoms cover the trees, then cascade to the earth. For some it is a time to contemplate their beauty and the ephemeral nature of life. “The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.”  Katsumoto For others it’s a great chance to get drunk with your mates in the park. At famous hanami spots, such as Yoyogi Park, the grass is covered in a patchwork of blue plastic sheets. If it’s a work outing then the youngest person in the office, usually has the duty of arriving as soon as the park is open to grab a spot for the company’s blue sheet. “Too many beers. Long line for the toilets.  Nowhere to pee in a park filled with trees.” Anonymous  

Cherry Blossom at Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle is Japan’s greatest castle. It’s the largest and most visited. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and several parts of the complex are National Treasures. The city of Himeji is one of the stops on the shinkansen bullet train running between Osaka and Hiroshima so it’s easy to reach. The castle is visible from the train station at the opposite end of the main street. Himeji is also known as Shirasagi-j0 or White Egret Castle, this is in contrast to the Crow Castles at Matsumoto and Okayama. Years of wear and tear had left the castle somewhat rundown, so a major renovation project took place recently. The castle reopened to the public on March 27, 2015 and now has bright white walls and pale grey roof tiles. The cleaning meant that my older images of Himeji needed updating and there’s no better time to do it than while the cherry blossom is blooming. Luckily we got the blue skies I wanted for “postcard” shots of the castle. Finished off with a few pics in the last …

A day in Kyoto

I’ve visited Kyoto numerous times before shooting cherry blossom, festivals, and the fall colors. On this trip I thought I’d spend a day shooting some portraits of Yuki in a kimono at various locations in the city. This will allow me to provide clients with some new model released Kyoto images. We started at Ryōan-ji the Zen temple known for its beautiful rock garden. There were hordes of visitors at Kinkaku-ji “The Golden Pavillion” but we found a quiet spot for tea. Ginkaku-ji “The Silver Pavillion” was similarly busy, but I only needed a break in the crowds for 1/125 of a second. We then strolled along the Philosopher’s Path. Quick pose under the umbrella at Chion-in temple, then through Maruyama Park to Kiyomzu-dera. I wasn’t the only person taking pics, and Yuki wasn’t the only person in a kimono or yukata in Kyoto.  A boom in international visitors plus cherry blossom in full bloom meant that the city was not particularly tranquil. I did however get the pics I wanted and I can always find …

Cherry blossom at Nakijin Castle

A few shots of cherry blossom at Nakijin Castle. All taken with the Pentax 645Z and 90mm lens at f2.8 I used a Priolite HotSync strobe for flash which allowed me to shoot with shutter speeds above the cameras sync speed. These images were shot at 1/500 sec, but I could have shot as high as 1/4000 sec. I’m using Priolite’s M-Pack system which has the strobe head separate from the power pack. I placed the power pack in a should bag so that my assistant Gary was fully mobile. Being able to shoot with strobes at high shutter speeds is not a necessity in these static shots, but the HotSync system is still useful allowing me to use strobes with wide apertures without having to resort to ND filters. I’ll put up more detailed information about HotSync flashes in the future, and how they differ from the more common High Speed Sync systems. Thanks to Gary and Jamie for assisting on the shoot, and of course to Yuki for modeling.

Cherry blossom blooms in Okinawa

Cherry blossom is blooming in Okinawa. At Nago Castle Ruins the dark pink blossoms add color to the stairway leading up to the shrine. The white pieces of paper tied to the branches of trees at the shrine are omikuji or fortune papers similar to what you might find in a fortune cookie. They are usually sold from machines at Shinto shrines. After you’ve checked your fortune most visitors tie the paper to something at the shrine before leaving. Hanami or cherry blossom is also a popular time for Japanese to dress up in yukata (top two images) or the more formal kimono (bottom two images) .